Intel NUC Poor WiFi - External Antenna Mod

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Ian, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2002
    Likes Received:
    586
    I bought an Intel NUC a long time ago to use as a media player, but it has since been re-purposed and positioned far away from our router. The WiFi signal strength is extremely poor - so bad that is must be the only thing in our house that can't get a reliable signal. I can place my Samsung S7 right next to it, and that will have a full signal - whereas the Intel NUC adaptor struggles to maintain a reliable connection.

    Instead of resorting to homeplugs or a high gain USB wifi adaptor, I wanted to make use of the onboard WiFi card... so I made a few modifications! I bought a pair of external WiFi antennas, plus a pair of tails to connect them to the existing onboard card.

    In my case, the onboard WiFi was an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165, a small M.2. card which required MHF4 antenna cables. If you have a mini-PCI WiFi card, you may need U.FL cables instead. Please check which connections you require before buying a cable, as they look very similar - I made the mistake of buying the more common U.FL at first.

    The images were only taken as a last-minute thought, as I realise it may help someone else, so please excuse the poor quality.

    The tails will look a little like this, which allow you to clip on to the existing wifi card and attach external antenna somewhere on the case:

    Tails.jpg

    My particular model Intel NUC has a couple of screws on the back of the case, which looked like they could be widened a little and then the external antenna connection poked though (whilst the nut would also secure the case in the same way the screw did).

    Here are the screws on the rear, which will soon be replaced:

    1.jpg
    You'll need to remove the base of the NUC case, then separate the hard drive and connecting cables (easily re-attached at a later date). If you have a different model NUC, please check that the connection placement fits when the case is closed.

    I checked the antenna tails fit the onboard mini coax connections (2) and removed a reinforcing bar from the case (1). The reinforcement bar holds the VGA connector and contains threaded holes for the two screws. This bar will also need to have the holes drilled wider to accept the antenna connections.

    2.jpg

    Before drilling, I knocked up a bit of wood to prevent the case from bending too much - as I didn't want it to snap. I'd recommend doing the same if possible:

    3.jpg

    Here's the bar which had the existing holes widened:

    4.jpg

    Once you've widened both sets of holes, re-attached the bar and feed the antenna connections through (then tighten with a nut):

    5.jpg

    Be sure to insulate the old Wifi connections once detached - they could short out components if you don't do that. Here's what it looks like inside:

    6.jpg

    Once the aerials are attached, it looks like they were always meant to be there :D:

    7.jpg


    I managed to get an unstable 10-20Mbps connection (before) up to a very stable 120-150Mbs connection (after). The difference in performance is huge! This NUC is very far from the router, so if you have it positioned sensibly, the speed improvements should be much larger (although perhaps not as unstable and slow to begin with).

    I hope this helps anyone else with NUC wifi problems. Post a pic if you give it a go too :).
     
    Ian, Mar 20, 2017
    #1
    bootneck02 and V_R like this.
    1. Advertisements

  2. Ian

    V_R ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Likes Received:
    999
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    Nicely done. :thumb:
     
    V_R, Mar 20, 2017
    #2
    Ian likes this.
    1. Advertisements

  3. Ian

    Abarbarian Acruncher

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Likes Received:
    501
    Location:
    A cabin in the woods by a river
    Great mod Ian :thumb:
     
    Abarbarian, Mar 23, 2017
    #3
    Ian likes this.
  4. Ian

    Ian Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2002
    Likes Received:
    586
    Cheers guys, it's been running for quite a few days now and has improved Wi-Fi reception enormously - not a single dropout :D. It had been frustrating me for a while, as since we upgraded the router to Orbi, the signal strength has been crazy high throughout the house and yet the Intel NUC remained unable to take advantage of it.
     
    Ian, Mar 23, 2017
    #4
  5. Ian

    bootneck02

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Likes Received:
    474
    Location:
    Maidstone, Kent, UK
    Great stuff Ian, :thumb:
     
    bootneck02, Apr 4, 2017
    #5
    Ian likes this.
    1. Advertisements

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Similar Threads
  1. malcs

    The Budget Mod

    malcs, Sep 5, 2003, in forum: Hardware
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    4,752
    Matt Jason H
    Sep 6, 2003
  2. Crimson Sky

    The Matrix: Rebirth 8.0 Case Mod

    Crimson Sky, Sep 21, 2003, in forum: Hardware
    Replies:
    15
    Views:
    5,891
    ent3rpris3
    Nov 3, 2003
  3. betty02

    My First Mod Begins (56K Warning)

    betty02, Feb 25, 2005, in forum: Hardware
    Replies:
    8
    Views:
    1,867
    betty02
    Feb 26, 2005
  4. Physikal

    Great UT2004 conversion mod - CarBall

    Physikal, May 18, 2005, in forum: Hardware
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    2,147
    Physikal
    May 18, 2005
  5. Ian
    Replies:
    8
    Views:
    1,723
    kcanti2
    Aug 20, 2007
  6. Raje
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    2,663
  7. jtw
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    842
    dran001
    Feb 6, 2007
  8. dude1234

    Intel Core 2 Duo Vs Intel Core 2 Quad

    dude1234, Jul 5, 2011, in forum: Hardware
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    11,864
    floppybootstomp
    Jul 5, 2011
Loading...